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Pregnancy Ultrasound: A Safe Diagnostic Tool

Aug 17, 2007
For most women who have had babies, the pregnancy ultrasound will be a familiar procedure. Also known as a sonogram, the ultrasound is used commonly during pregnancy.

If your doctor decides to perform a pregnancy ultrasound, you will probably be asked to drink two to three glasses of water one hour before your appointment. This will ensure that your bladder will be full for the test. Since the ultrasound machine works by sending out high frequency waves that bounce off body structures to form a picture, fluid in the bladder helps the waves transmit more effectively.

Once you arrive at your appointment, you will be asked to lie down on the exam table. The technician will apply a conducting gel to your abdomen, and a probe will be used to create the pictures of your baby. The pregnancy ultrasound is virtually a painless procedure, with the exception of mild discomfort you may feel from having a full bladder. It is also a very safe instrument that can be used throughout the many stages of pregnancy to detect and diagnose many potential problems.

When to Use Pregnancy Ultrasound

Because pregnancy ultrasound is such a safe method of evaluating a pregnancy, it can be used at any time during the forty-week term. During the first trimester the procedure can be helpful in assessing the baby's age and finding the fetal heartbeat. It can rule out problems with the baby, as well as abnormalities with the placenta or uterus. It can also be recommended to determine if a woman is carrying multiple pregnancies.

During the second and third trimesters, pregnancy ultrasound can also be an easy method to assess not only gestational age, but how the baby is growing and what the position of the baby is. The ultrasound can identify potential developmental problems, and evaluate the condition of the placenta and amniotic fluid.

Since pregnancy ultrasound is fairly simple and virtually painless, it is a test expectant mothers can look forward to without much fear or trepidation. Most moms-to-be enjoy seeing a sneak peek of the little bundles inside, and many appreciate the opportunity to find out the gender of the child before birth.

Ultrasound can be used for this purpose as well, but most professionals will warn that the assessment is not always 100% accurate! Modern baby scrapbooks usually contain at least one or two sonogram pictures, and proud parents can show off images of the new addition long before labor begins.
About the Author
Eddie Lamb publishes an abundance of vital information on a range of health topics. We believe a better understanding of your condition can help reduce unnecessary anxiety. You'll find a host of useful articles all about pregnancy listed on our site map page at Pregnancy Ultrasound.
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